It is a chronic bacterial disease and highly infectious. Tuberculosis spreads through air and affects the lungs of the person. It is caused by tubercle bacillus discovered by a German scientist. This disease is prevailing all over the world.

In some developing and underdeveloped countries the cause of spread is lower socio-economic status and large overcrowded cities. This is prevalent both in tropical and temperate climate.

Spread of Disease:

Tuberculosis spreads in the following manner:


(a) The infection spreads by inhalation of droplets expelled by the patient through, sneezing, coughing, yawning, speaking loudly, etc.

(b) Through direct contact by the patient.

(c) Inhalation of fine dust containing tubercle bacilli from sputum and discharges thrown on floor, walls, furniture etc.

(d) By consuming contaminated milk, food product, milk product and unpasteurised milk.


(e) Infected articles, clothes, utensils, etc. may spread the disease.

(f) Hereditary transmission of tuberculosis does not occur.

(g) Sometimes flies play an important role in spreading the disease.

Incubation Period:


Incubation period is about four to six weeks.


The characteristic symptoms occur slowly. Initially, the patient feels easily exhausted and fatigue doing ordinary work and feels excessive weakness. Loss of appetite, hoarseness of throat, pain in the chest due to infected lungs. The cough secretion is tested for the presence of tubercle bacillus. X-ray film shows the extent of infection in the lungs. Patient sweats profusely at night and feels weak.



Child should be given B.C.G. (Bacillus Calmette Guerine) vaccine by intra dermal injection within the first three months of age.

Control and Prevention:

Following steps need to be undertaken to control the spread of tuberculosis:

1. Health and general sanitary conditions of the community should be taken good care of. Every human being should live in fresh air and sunshine. Open space for fresh air should be provided in the streets, markets, buildings etc.


2. Workers of cotton and ginning mills, coalmines, tobacco bidi making, etc. should wear protective shield to prevent inhalation of dust or silica dust.

3. Pasteurized milk should be supplied and hygienic practices should be followed in preparing milk products and other food items.

4. Films, magazines, chart, posters, etc. should be used to educate the general masses about the ill effects of tuberculosis and its preventive measures.

5. Government and other voluntary agencies should undertake the tuberculosis eradication project effectively so that the general masses benefit from the programme.


6. Tuberculosis is curable and should be diagnosed at the earliest so that treatment can be provided before its severity increases.

7. Patient should be isolated. Children especially, newly born should not be allowed to go near the patient.

8. Nourishing food and living conditions should be improved.

9. The disinfestations of clothes, utensils, articles, rooms etc. should be properly ensured.

10. Rehabilitations of tuberculosis patient after he has recovered is very important.